We touched down in Hobart in a haze of duty free whisky and precious little sleep at 7 AM, April 27th.
Despite self-inflicted fatigue, we hit the ground running. We chose to rent a car over the buses that run to the corners of Tasmania, because we wanted to be on our own time. Also, it is often the case that buying two round trip tickets for long distance buses is more expensive than renting one car for both of us.
So, we jumped in our new wheels and headed into Hobart for supplies (food and canister fuel) before hitting the open road.
From Hobart, it is a 2 ½ hour drive to Cole’s Bay, the jumping off point of Freycinet National Park. The drive is a beautiful introduction to the island with sinuous rivers and long stretches of bumpy farm land to the inland, and the Tasman Sea reaching out to the east. The road meanders through tiny Tassie towns which basically comprise of a post office, maybe a couple cafés, and a grocery store. It is lovely.
Turn off the A3 to follow Cole’s Bay Road down to the town, and as the road cuts through the town it turns into Freycinet Drive which leads directly to the Freycinet National Park Visitor Center, where National Park Passes are available.
We were advised by the Visitor Center to follow the circuit in a counter clockwise direction to avoid the spread of phytophthora cinnamomic (root rot), which is having a devastating effect on the flora on the peninsula.
With this in mind, we stored anything we didn’t need in the boot (another benefit of renting a car), and with our packs sorted, we set out from the Wineglass Bay car park on the trek to Hazards Beach Campsite.
Despite the early flight and the sweat dripping from my alcohol-soaked cells, we weren’t walking for thirty minutes before the immersion into this unique and beautiful place began to erase all memory of misadventures from the night before.
Wallabies startled us as we rounded curves on the forest path. When the forest and its creatures gave way to the rocky hillside, we were treated to a remarkable view back over Cole’s Bay. The coup de grace was descending the rocky outcrops and suddenly finding a sandy beach peeking between the gums. This was the first stretch of lovely Tasmanian beach on the coastal trek.
Hazards Beach Campsite is an spacious area under the gum tree forest at the end of a walk down the long crescent beach. Once we set up our rambling home under the trees, the sunset and the beach were only a few steps away.
With three days to kill and nothing but beaches and mountains before us, we settled in for what lay ahead.